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Site Preparation:
Implementation of a management plan typically commences with some form of site preparation.  Site preparation techniques are integral tools utilized to achieve the landowner’s objectives.  Many different types of site preparation exist, including but not limited to; creation of firelines, reduction of fuel loads, reduction of competing vegetation through chemical/mechanical processes, or mulching/under-brushing of environmental sensitive areas.  Each site preparation technique has its place in the proper management of timber/environmental lands.   

Once site preparation is complete other management techniques can then be implemented, such as; reforestation, reclamation, restoration, and habitat enhancement/creation with shrubby or herbaceous plant material.  Properly preparing a site should be one of the first priorities in any land management plan.  A properly prepared site may ensure the success of future treatments.  A sample of typical site preparation treatments and their descriptions are listed below:

Site Preparation Treatment Description
Chemical Application Site specific chemical applications to reduce competing vegetation/invasive exotic species, aiding in the enhancement of the property and success of future treatments.
Chopping Pulling of a drum chopper behind a tractor to reduce competing vegetation and expose bare mineral soil. 
Discing Utilized for creation and rehabilitation of firelines, preparation of food plots, and sometimes in preparation of reforestation & habitat enhancement/creation projects.
Mowing A tractor pulled mower such as a Brown Tree Cutter to reduce the understory fuels and increase aesthetics.  Typically utilized where prescribed fire cannot be. 
Mulching/Under-brushing Low ground pressure machine that completely mulches the mid-story and understory plants less than 6” in diameter.  Excellent first step in creating firelines through high vegetation areas and also great at reducing fuel loads and competing vegetation in environmentally sensitive areas.
Prescribed Burning Utilization of prescribed fire to reduce competing vegetation for further treatments to occur.
Removal of Undesirable Tree Species Mechanical removal of undesirable tree species to allow sunlight through to the forest floor releasing desirable native herbaceous plant species. 

With the many challenges facing landowners today, FES prides itself on finding the most efficient/effective solutions for landowners to achieve their goals.  Selecting the proper site preparation method for a landowner’s property is the first step of plan implementation that helps in ensuring a landowner will achieve their goals and objectives.   

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